Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Early Critique: "Magic Binds (Kate Daniels #9)" by Ilona Andrews

Note: This review has a few spoilers for those of you who are new to or behind on this series. My review of the first book, Magic Bites, is here.

Disclaimer: I was given a free advance e-copy of this book via NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My opinion remains as forthright as ever.

Expected Publication: September 20th

Kate and company have overcome immense obstacles throughout the course of this series, but the one who has always loomed largest is Roland, the god-like magician. Kate has always assumed she would face him singlehandedly, but along the way she has picked up allies and even friends in her quest to rid the world of his presence. In the previous book I noted I was growing somewhat fond of him, but he (yet again) reveals his true colors in this book.

The ingredients to the perfect Kate Daniels book haven't changed: there must be sarcasm, prolific action scenes, mysterious mythological elements, and the secret sauce that is the wonderfully exuberant cast of characters to hasten things along. Despite a seemingly impervious group of friends surrounding her, her relationships do suffer with the growth of her power and influence- friendships I hadn't believed would falter did. I was a bit disappointed in several characters as a result of that, which might be why I didn't enjoy this one as much as some of the others in the series.

The Plot (As Seen on Goodreads):
'Mercenary Kate Daniels knows all too well that magic in post-Shift Atlanta is a dangerous business. But nothing she’s faced could have prepared her for this…
'Kate and the former Beast Lord Curran Lennart are finally making their relationship official. But there are some steep obstacles standing in the way of their walk to the altar…
'Kate’s father, Roland, has kidnapped the demigod Saiman and is slowly bleeding him dry in his never-ending bid for power. A Witch Oracle has predicted that if Kate marries the man she loves, Atlanta will burn and she will lose him forever. And the only person Kate can ask for help is long dead.
'The odds are impossible. The future is grim. But Kate Daniels has never been one to play by the rules…'

In my Magic Shifts review, I mentioned Kate and Curran having to deal with the consequences of their actions all by their lonesome- and that theme expands in this book. With a wedding to plan, and Kate being not keen on wedding planning, you get to see some fascinating displays of procrastination that even veteran procrastinators (such as myself) can admire. Kate has always had tomboyish tendencies that clash with the impending festivities, giving lightness to a book that is on the darker end of the spectrum with some of its plot elements.

Making this book more complex is the choices Kate must make by herself, that may affect the future in a myriad of ways. I don't envy Kate's role in this book, as she must confront her fears, and her past, in order to envision a new future for herself, even if it means sacrificing something she loves. True to her character, she rises to the occasion, but I felt concerned about events that may or may not come to pass in the next book.

In addition to all the drama listed above, we also have a returning character I was a bit ambivalent about, given the role they played previously. I did a recent reread of this series and became even more opposed to the return of this character, because some of what they did previously doesn't make much sense with how they're acting now. However, I think this may lead to some developments in the next book, as there are many plot threads yet to be woven together for Book #10.

Magic Binds is preparing us for one hell of a finale, which might be why I hesitate to give it five stars. It ends on a semi-cliffhanger, making you eager to read the next volume of Kate and Curran's adventures, which you will have to wait (likely another year) to read. Nonetheless, this installment should prove curative to those Kate and Curran fanatics who require a fix- myself included.

Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars for exceptional displays of urban fantasy badassery and snark!

Age Advisory: Ages 18+ for the usual Kate Daniels mix of violence against mythological beings and foul mouthed epithets.

Page Count: 384 pages

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